Koyasan Guest House — Koyasan, Japan
Simplicity and modernity meet in Koyasan guesthouse, a new hotel in the eponymous village in Japan’s Kansai region. Befitting its location in a Unesco World Heritage site, and in one of Japanese Buddhism’s most sacred parts, architects Kentaro Takeguchi and Asako Yamamoto of Kyoto-based firm, Alphaville have used humble materials like galvanized steel and aluminium to striking effect, lending visual drama with the clever use of proportions and subtle lighting. The centre of the space features two wooden colonnades surrounding a corridor connecting a private dormitory space, offering capsule-style pods and compact double rooms, with a public lounge area incorporating a café and bar serving refreshments and simple home-cooked meals. Sited in close proximity to the Okunoin mausoleum, the spiritual town’s holiest site, would-be pilgrims are well equipped to explore the area’s ancient monasteries and idyllic woodland trails on foot.